Teaching toddlers and preschoolers to recognize colors by name is a popular theme without even considering teaching the ASL signs to go with them. There are many resources available to teach colors that can be adapted to learning the ASL signs. I have compiled a few of my favorites here that I have used with toddlers and preschoolers.
I do not own as many books with colors as a theme as I do farm animals; however I do have a couple that we really enjoy. I have also discovered some at our local library while researching this theme.
1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, with illustrations by Eric Carle is a classic. There are two versions of this book. We happen to own both. I have one version that ends with a teacher and one that ends with a mother. I personally like the illustrations better in the mother one, but our teacher version is larger, so I may use that in a playgroup with several children to help with seeing the book. This book has lots of animals that you can sign as well.
4. My Crayons Talk by Patricia Hubbard, with illustrations by G. Brian Karas is a new find today at the library. It has a catchy rhyming quality to it and the illustrations look like they could have been done with crayons, at least in part.
5. Leon the Chameleon by Melanie Watt is the story of a chameleon who cannot turn the correct color. He always turns the opposite color. Since the whole page is one color and Leo is the opposite, it makes it easy for kids to find Leo and sign his color. You can also sign the color he should have turned.
6. Magpie Magic by April Wilson is an absolute delight to read, although there are no words.. The illustrations jump from the page as the story unfolds, just as the magpie in the story jumps from the page. This one might be hard for sharing with younger kids, but my three year old told me tonight that I needed to share it with the playgroup. I think the person sharing it would have to ask lots of questions of the kids as the pages were shown to get them to figure out the story.
7. A printable book of colors is available at kiddyhouse. You may need to search under Lesson Plans and then Colors to find the page. You need a pdf reader to print the book.
I also made a book of colors using my Cricut cutting machine. I made the animals from Brown Bear, Brown Bear and just put the color word with the animal. I added the colors that were not in the story that I also wanted to teach.
There are several games for a variety of age groups available on the internet to print out with a color theme. I will try to compile the ones I have used here, although it is a year since I printed some of them out and I may not be able to find them all again.
1. Fishing Game: I cut out fish in each color that I was teaching with my Cricut machine, but you could easily draw a simple fish to cut out by hand. I then laminated the fish and attached magnets to them. For fishing poles, I use dowels with a string that has a nut tied to the end. As each child catches a fish, he or she must sign the color that was caught.
2. Memory/Matching Game: I found graphics of various items that were in each of the colors as well as drawings of each of the signs. Match the sign to the correct color graphic.
3. Board Game: I found a website that offered simple one page board games to print out. I printed out a couple on card stock and laminated them. I then used some more of the graphics as cards for the game. Kids pick a card, sign the color, and then roll the die to see how many spaces to go.
4. Parachute play: I have a parachute with the colors. Kids can be asked to go to their favorite color and then sign it. The instructor can sign a color and have kids go to the color. An object can be placed in the parachute and the group works together to make the object go to the color that is signed.
5. Go Fish Card Game: For preschoolers, the cards at this ESL site could be used. They also have a BINGO game on the site for colors. Many ESL sites have simple games that can be adapted for use in learning ASL.
For a craft for this playgroup theme, I found a book of colors, “My Itsy Bitsy Colors Book” at kidzone. They also have minibooks on individual colors available for printout.